In-person auctions, silent auctions, and even virtual auctions all offer an exhilarating night of fun, donations, and festivities. Guiding your attendees to your event starts as soon as you begin marketing your event, and a smooth event registration process is the key to a successful event.
In this article, we’ll walk through ways to perfect your event registration and liability waiver processes. Here are five steps to get started:
- Simplify the process.
- Include a clear liability waiver.
- Include optional sections.
- Create a confirmation page.
- Explain your event.
Simplify the process.
Your event registration should be in a prominent, easily identifiable location on your website. Once supporters are excited to attend, you don’t want them to have to search through your website and lose their way to the registration page. Creating a button for event registration on your website’s homepage and events page will allow visitors to get started.
On the event registration page, include the date, time, and location of the event to ensure guests are aware of the event plan and can mark off their calendars. Collect only essential information such as registrants’:
- Email address
- Billing information (if applicable)
You’ll want to keep the registration process simple for your attendees, so you can hold their attention long enough to complete the forms.
Include a clear liability waiver.
Auctions are rambunctious occasions. It’s important your guests and bidders have a clear understanding of the rules and regulations prior to the event to maintain the fun atmosphere.
Your liability waiver will help protect your organization’s auction and pass responsibility for won items to the winning bidder. To protect your event, you should outline auction rules such as:
- All sales are final and there are no refunds or exchanges.
- Certificates or gift cards up for auction may have some black-out useability dates.
- All bidders are assuming their own risk when registering to bid in the auction.
- A valid ID is necessary to purchase age-restricted items (e.g. liquor, gift cards to wineries, overnight stays).
- Winners must show their payment confirmation prior to receiving their item.
- Winners must pick up all items the night of the event or they no longer own the item.
- If any item is left unclaimed, it will become the organization’s property and can’t be resold.
According to Recharity’s guide to online waiver software, your organization can easily create waiver templates to link in your registration form. By using an online waiver software, like Smartwaiver, for this process, your organization will be able to store guest data in the waiver database and send all guests a link to their signed copy of the waiver.
The liability waiver should be mandatory for registration completion. This will help keep all your attendees aware of your event and auction rules and help reduce your liability should an auction participant attempt to push back against those rules.
Your waiver can also help reduce liability for other situations. For example, if you’re hosting your auction outside and guests will have to walk to the auction location, you can have them sign a waiver saying any injuries incurred along the way will be their responsibility. This way, should an attendee sprain an ankle, your nonprofit has put the responsibility for medical care and costs on the attendee.
Include optional sections.
While you want to maintain a streamlined registration form, it can be helpful to include optional sections to collect more attendee information. You can denote mandatory sections with red asterisks above each section.
Offer donation options for registrants at the end of the form. If your event has no registration fee, ask attendees if they would like to donate to your fundraising event. Include suggested donation amounts to simplify choices, making it easier for attendees to become donors as well.
While collecting contact information, add a checkbox for attendees to select that will give you permission to add their contact information to your email newsletter lists. To gather more contact information, include a section for guests to add their phone number and to mark their preferred contact method.
Allow attendees looking to bid at your auction to enter their financial information during registration. Having attendees verify their payment methods prior to the event will save you from long entrance lines and a slow opening to your event. This will also ensure a smooth transition after the auction, so bidders can easily transfer funds and receive their items.
Create a confirmation page.
Create a confirmation page to display after your attendees have completed their registration form and waiver. Thanking them for their attendance and support will help them feel appreciated and confirm that their registration went through.
If possible, provide your guests with a link via email to go verify their registration or to edit any contact information that might change. This can also be a good way to allow registrants to notify you that they can no longer attend. Having the correct number of attendees can help streamline event planning.
Explain your event.
Auctions can be complicated for first-time participants, so it is crucial to explain how the auction process will work beforehand. After an attendee signs up, send an email outlining the event and explaining how attendees will participate in the auction.
Here are the details attendees should know:
- The order of events.
- How attendees will bid on auction items.
- How to fill out bid sheets.
- What time the auction officially opens and closes.
- Minimum bids and increment changes.
- How bidders will receive items they’ve won.
Prepare your guests for the event ahead of time to avoid any payment confusion or missed bidding opportunities.
After your event’s grand success, use your attendee’s contact information to follow up with details about the event. This is an effective method to secure further donations after the event and inspire donors with the funds raised at your event.